Joe Satriani at Orpheum Theatre – Boston

Review by Jeff Palmucci
Photos by Jeff Palmucci
Flyleaf photos HERE
Joe Satriani is a guitar god. I’m not talking about some lame Percy Jackson type of god either. I’m talking full on Kratos, kill all the other gods, guitar god. His show at the Orpheum last Friday showcased his aptitude for instrumental guitar perfection. Even with the full instrumental performance, I swear that guy can make a guitar sing, scream, wail, and even whisper. He manipulates a guitar in such a way that it produces sounds that no guitar really should be able to make. To watch Satriani is an experience in itself. He has this style where he sometimes moves both hands to the frets and just starts wailing away. Although this style looks slick – there is one huge drawback. Nobody gets it when you’re doing Satriani on air guitar. Looks more like you’re tickling a kitten to death.
The show was in support of his new Unstoppable Momentum album, and included quite a few of the new tracks. Unstoppable Momentum is his latest solo effort, and is being well received. Its tracks dominate the top ten Satriani streams on Spotify. I also have to mention Satch’s previous release, the non-solo Chickenfoot III, released in 2011, as a shameless plea form another Chickenfoot album. Please?
Joe was joined onstage by Marco Minnemann on drums, Mike Keneally on keyboard and guitar, and Bryan Bellar on bass. All of these guys were impressive. I’m not a big fan of drum solos in general. Sometimes it seems like they exist to suck up some time and give the rest of the band a breather. However, Marco’s set was a standout. He didn’t restrict his solo to the “drum” parts of his drum set, ranging over random exposed stuff, the sticks, and the audience. (He’d point and we’d yell “Hey!”). It was really a lively exchange between Marco and the audience.  Mike, playing both keyboard and guitar, looks more like a favorite grandpa than a rock guitarist. (I can say that because I’m an old guy too.) However, the guy is a genious, jamming right along with Satch on guitar as well as on the keyboard.

I’ve never seen opener Steve Morse play before, but they turned out to be a great match-up. Steve performed another instrumental set also riddled with incredible guitar. If you are heavily into guitar, more of an air guitarist, or just dislike kittens, you should not miss this show.

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